The actor Steve Coogan has hit out at Piers Morgan calling him “symptomatic of the problem” with the British tabloid media, after the former Good Morning Britain presenter’s various responses to the Oprah interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Appearing on ITV’s Peston programme, the 55-year-old Alan Partridge actor, who has also been a vocal press reform campaigner, labelled Morgan’s conduct “bullying behaviour” as he called out the media at large.
"The tabloid press is controlled by a handful of tax shy billionaires with an agenda. Anyone who stands up to the press is attacked by them because they’re bullies," Coogan said.
According to Coogan, the tabloid press attacked the Duke and Duchess of Sussex because they broke the “golden rule” of not taking on the media.
"The fact that Meghan Markle and Harry were attacked has nothing to do with jet-setting hypocrisy," he said. "It’s because they broke the golden rule, which is to leave us alone and we’ll go easy on you next time."
The comment comes after Morgan dramatically left ITV’s flagship morning programme during a discussion over his comments on Meghan Harry’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Morgan was criticised for raising doubts over comments Meghan made about her mental health and “suicidal thoughts” she had when she was still a senior working member of the royal family.
"Who did you go to? What did they say to you? I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word she said, Meghan Markle," he said earlier. "I wouldn’t believe it if she read me a weather report."
Coogan, who has history with Morgan over the phone hacking scandal in the early 2000s when the presenter was the editor of the Daily Mirror, explained “things got really nasty” after the Duchess of Sussex sued the Daily Mail.
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He also referred to Ofcom’s opening of an investigation into Morgan’s comments, saying: "But they [Ofcom] should be investigating whether it was right for the man cited by dozens of claimants in the Mirror hacking litigation to have been allowed a platform to attack one of his accusers."
Coogan was one of the celebrities the Mirror Group paid a settlement to after it admitting to illegally intercepting the voicemails of hundreds of celebrities, politicians and other people in the news. Morgan has said that while he was editor at the time, he was unaware of any wrongdoing.
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